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10 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, informative, and thought-provoking
What is art? That's a hard question, and it fills the whole of this short book, covering various theories of art and some very different artists and ways of doing art. Despite being packed with information and thought-provoking ideas, "Art Theory" is very easy to read. It was my first "Very Short Introduction" - I now want to collect them all. Brilliant.
Published on 29 Oct 2005 by Vashka

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sour
This book is a breezy survey of authors to study for courses in departments of Philosophy and Art History. It is therefore a bad reflection of the state of critical thought in academe as a whole, preserving faithfullly the endemic error which allows so-called Modern Art to be the measure of theory, instead of the other way round.

Page 37 mentions George...
Published on 5 July 2012 by R. Dixon


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, informative, and thought-provoking, 29 Oct 2005
What is art? That's a hard question, and it fills the whole of this short book, covering various theories of art and some very different artists and ways of doing art. Despite being packed with information and thought-provoking ideas, "Art Theory" is very easy to read. It was my first "Very Short Introduction" - I now want to collect them all. Brilliant.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide Ranging and a Little Unsettling, 20 Jan 2011
By 
Harry the book monkey (Citizen of the world) - See all my reviews
This a good introductory book to those interested in the theory of art. My particular interest and reason for reading this book was the question what constitutes art? This book was enlightening to me as it was open to ideas about what sort of things could be included in a group of things that could be considered works of art.

The book itself is structured in a way to focus on issues related to my question such as the impact of shocking modern works, non western/ethnic art, and the influence of the art market, feminism and modern media. These issues then provide a backdrop from which to explore and discuss different art theories, this is a much more engaging way of discussing and evaluating different theories as the backdrop provides a context to evaluate various theories, rather than just running through different theories without context.

The unsettling element of the book is that it does not seem possible to establish any fixed point from which to discuss art, as to do so instantly set limits from which the theory will ultimately be dismissed. The best theories art are those that do not impose limits, but this seems to let the floodgates open to any anything goes attitude which is equally dissatisfying. The message I took from the book is that art theory walks a tightrope between two unsatisfactory positions - but I have faith that it is possible to walk that tightrope.

There are a few problems such some issues seem to be glossed over such as the difference between arts and crafts, but this need not be taken as flaw, but as a limitation of space and the launch point for further study.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reader-friendliness means a lot, 19 Feb 2010
By 
V. Grätz (London, England) - See all my reviews
This book on aesthetics is so easy to read that after five minutes of reading I already felt the exhilaration of being enlightened. It is hard to believe a seemingly dry subject can be explored (quite comprehensively and in depth) in such an enjoyable way, thanks to Ms Freeland's lively and engaging writing and her brilliant organising of topics. This small book can quickly equip you with the basic ability of understanding and appreciating art. Highly recommend!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But is it art ?, 9 Aug 2007
No, this book is not a work of art. But among the mixed bag that is the 'very short introduction' series ( i own 7 currently )it's one of the better ones. A readable style and broad coverage, arranged by theme rather than chronology, combine to do exactly what it says on the tin.

So you get aesthetics, feminist perspectives, the purpose of galleries, the motivation of artists all deftly delivered by someone with an engaging turn of phrase and choice examples. The author lays her cards on the table throughout, with bits of 'I believe...', punctuated by an even handed exposition of the main arguments.

Two small gripes - I'd have liked a glossary and a few more illustrations, but these are but minor quibles. Overall, well worth it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sour, 5 July 2012
By 
R. Dixon "Robert Dixon" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is a breezy survey of authors to study for courses in departments of Philosophy and Art History. It is therefore a bad reflection of the state of critical thought in academe as a whole, preserving faithfullly the endemic error which allows so-called Modern Art to be the measure of theory, instead of the other way round.

Page 37 mentions George Dickie's institutional theory, which states the patently obvious, which I paraphrase as: Modern Art is what Modern Art Museums collect. The absurdity of the semantics is reflected in the absurdity of the Art Museum's idea of contemporary art. Of course, art is no such thing. It is any visual image or ornament, and that is why archaeologists can find it anywhere, whereas the modern educated citizen is taught that it only exists in Art Museums, and Art books.

On page 23 she mentions Ernst Gombrich, but misses the fact that his late book `Sense of Order', corrects her suggestion that for him art is only image: it is also ornament. There is nothing modern about `abstract' art, and Modern Art Museums are not museums of modern art.
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4.0 out of 5 stars nice little introduction, 24 Oct 2013
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got myself a few of the a very short introduction's and find them good, perfect little book to give you an overview of the subject
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Refresher, 23 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Kindle Edition)
Good summary of Art Theory Ideal for bus journeys. Reminds you of all those things you've studied previously. I've read it through at a chapter a day and started to re-read again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and a great insight, 1 May 2013
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This review is from: Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Kindle Edition)
As an art student, I found this book incredible sharp and to- the-point... detailing a wide range of pieces and artists some of never even considered before... this has been useful for my current project as a reference, though I also believe that people wanting to read this simply for pleasure will get a brief yet brilliant insight into the world of art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good product, 2 Dec 2012
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good product I will recomend to my friends and family for purchase of this item for another time in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, intelligent and accessible, 22 Sep 2011
Very well written. Takes you on a whirlwind tour of world art history. Bought prior to my art degree -would recommend to any art student or person with interest in art.
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